Dispatch held an exclusive interview with FIFTY FIFTY‘s Keena, where she detailed exactly how Ahn Sung Il manipulated and gaslit the group members.
The first thing Dispatch talked about seemed irrelevant. It was regarding a COVID-19 rapid test. On June 13, 2023, Saena sent a message to ATTRAKT, letting the company know she tested positive for COVID-19.
Saena: [Picture of COVID-19 rapid test]
Saena: It is positive.
ATTRAKT: Got it!
ATTRAKT: Saena, are your parents also aware that you tested positive?
Dispatch was able to obtain the original photo that Saena sent to ATTRAKT. They looked at the metadata that was attached to the photo. Latitude 37.29.XX. Longitude 127.7.XX. Altitude 55.80XX. The address that the longitude and latitude points out is in Songpa-gu, Munjeong-dong. But FIFTY FIFTY’s dorm is located in Gangnam-gu, Nonhyeon-dong, which is 15 kilometers away.
Why was Saena sending a COVID-19 rapid test from Munjeong-dong? Well, Ahn Sung Il lives in Munjeong-dong, on the third floor of an apartment.
Dispatch went to the address registered under Ahn Sung Il’s name. They checked the longitude, latitude, and altitude. It was a match.
They checked again at the parking lot of the apartment complex. Again, the information matched the COVID-19 rapid test metadata. The altitude of the parking complex is 40 meters, and since Ahn Sung Il lives on the third floor, the 55 meter altitude is plausible.
This brought up the question — did Saena take the test at Ahn Sung Il’s home? Was that Ahn Sung Il’s test and he just sent it to Saena? Dispatch was stuck on this issue for three months. Until they got the chance to talk to Keena.
Dispatch: Whose COVID-19 rapid test was that?
Keena: It was Ahn Sung Il’s.
It was Ahn Sung Il’s doing. So why did he plan the fake COVID-19 diagnosis?
Dispatch: Honestly, we were suspicious of that. But we didn’t actually expect to hear you say Ahn Sung Il.
Keena: That was on June 13, three days before sending the certification of contents to ATTRAKT. Ahn Sung Il advised us that it would be better to not carry out any more schedules from that day on.
Dispatch: But the COVID-19 rapid test?
Keena: Ahn Sung Il said that if you test positive for COVID-19, then the company will leave you alone, so you wouldn’t be under the eyes of the agency. They used the quarantine period of testing positive.
Dispatch: Did Ahn Sung Il send the picture himself?
Keena: We had to leave the dorm before the certification of contents was sent. I was very anxious and felt rushed. At that time, Ahn Sung Il sent the photo of his positive test.
Dispatch noted Ahn Sung Il tested positive for COVID-19 in May 2023. They believe the photo of the positive rapid test was taken at that time.
Dispatch: So Saena sent that picture to ATTRAKT?
Keena: Since we decided on the lawsuit, we thought that was for the best. Ahn Sung Il said that we shouldn’t run into the company. Our lawyers also advised us to not talk to the company.
Ahn Sung Il’s strategy worked. He got three days to carry out his plan, just from a photo and one sentence.
FIFTY FIFTY sent ATTRAKT the certification of contents on June 16. On June 17, they left the dorm. ATTRAKT received the notice on June 19, the same day the group filed for temporary suspension of their contracts.
Dispatch: So the war began on June 19. What was the first thing Ahn Sung Il said?
Keena: “You made the right choice. Let’s walk the right path.”
Dispatch: Since then, have you been going alongside Ahn Sung Il?
Keena: No. My confidence in him has been completely destroyed.
Dispatch: For example?
Keena: Ahn Sung Il proposed the injunction lawsuit. Our parents appointed the lawyer. Ahn PD said he couldn’t directly help us, but he would provide evidence to support us from behind. He promised to help us.
At that time, Ahn Sung Il said that he had really crucial evidence so that they would win the lawsuit. But he was all talk, no game. He didn’t provide FIFTY FIFTY with the correct evidence. Then, he cut contact. He stopped contacting them.
Dispatch: Were there any signs of fraud or similar, such as forgery of signature or academic background?
Keena: I learned through an article that my copyright distribution was reduced from 6.5% to 0.5%. The signature on the copyright distribution change form was forged. That was not my signature.
Ahn Sung Il called out all of the articles that reported “fake news” about him. He called out both the signature forgery articles and articles about him faking his academic background.
Dispatch: So did you believe Ahn Sung Il’s story?
Keena: Never. Instead, my parents became angry at him. They thought Ahn Sung Il was making the lawsuit more difficult. They said we should exclude him from the lawsuit and just focus on the problems.
How did Ahn Sung Il manipulate FIFTY FIFTY? Introducing the four stages of Ahn Sung Il’s manipulation. Brainwashing, inducing anxiety, fake information, and alienation.
Dispatch: How did Ahn Sung Il convey himself?
Keena: Ahn Sung Il and director Baek worked together. He would ask how we were doing and how he got us onto Billboard, bragging about it.
Dispatch: Ahn Sung Il raised the rankings on the charts?
Keena: He always shows us on KakaoTalk. It’s conversations about who he talked to about Billboard. He says things about how the ranking of the song increased and how it will rise more in the future. He said it was all planned.
Dispatch: In reality, “Cupid” made history for being on the Billboard charts the longest our of all K-Pop girl groups.
Keena: That’s why I had to believe him. He said he did it all by himself.
Dispatch: But wasn’t it Jeon Hong Jun, who is above Ahn Sung Il? In the end, the final decision was made by Jeon Hong Jun.
Keena: Ahn Sung Il showed us the conversations he had with Jeon Hong Jun. He complained that he had a lot of difficulties with some parts. How he did all the work by himself.
Keena: He made complaints like “the “Cupid” music video was produced with my money first,” and “ATTRAKT didn’t have any money so we were behind on paying the salon.” We thought that the company was really difficult because of that…
Dispatch: In other words, he was creating anxiety?
Keena: He kept building it up like that. He also kept saying how we should get onto Billboard charts.
When Warner Korea proposed an offer to Ahn Sung Il, that sparked more issues. Warner Korea Director Yoon offered Ahn Sung Il ₩20.0 billion KRW (about $14.8 million USD) to buy out FIFTY FIFTY. Director Yoon’s goal was to pay the money to Jeon Hong Jun to acquire FIFTY FIFTY as an artist for their label. However, Ahn Sung Il did not deliver the news to Jeon Hong Jun immediately.
Dispatch: A flower road called Billboard actually appeared. But how did you get stuck in the mud?
Keena: Ahn Sung Il said Jeon Hong Jun rejected the offer from Warner Korea. But actually, we didn’t know what the term buyout meant. At that time…
Dispatch: What do you think happened at that time?
Keena: I thought naively. Wouldn’t it be a good thing to get ₩20.0 billion KRW (about $14.8 million USD) since the company is in trouble? We just wanted to continue our activities normally.
Dispatch: Did Ahn Sung Il diss Jeon Hong Jun again?
Keena: Warner Korea’s money would have been good for both of them, but he kept saying he doesn’t understand. Jeon Hong Jun kept saying that it would be good to collect the money and how we would be able to expand abroad further with Warner.
Dispatch: Then what would Ahn Sung Il get from this?
Keena: He said “honestly, I am not greedy.” How he did not want to hold onto us. “You guys just have to go to a good person and make good music.”
Dispatch: So basically, a white army? [this term refers to an individual or group that attempts to make up for a mistake by taking on a punishment, rather than fully accepting responsibility.]
Keena: He advised us to not work as hard as we were. He said this problem was not something we could solve. Instead, we should talk to our parents.
Dispatch: But out of the blue, the lawsuit came out?
Keena: Around that time, we were called to The Givers’ conference room. I was told “now, I think you guys need to carefully consider the situation. You can choose. There are three options.”
Dispatch: Three options?
Keena: First, we would get investment from CJ. Second, we would get investment from Kakao. Third, we would apply for a temporary injunction.
Regarding investment from outside companies, it was up to the company to decide. But Ahn Sung Il made it seem like it was the members’ choice. He purposely worded it so that the answer was already decided.
Dispatch: Wasn’t Ahn Sung Il’s suggestion too weird?
Keena: That was the first time we heard of the term injuction. We just wanted to continue our activities. We were also a bit scared of the first two options.
Dispatch: Scared? Why?
Keena: Ahn Sung Il called my father. He said Jeon Hong Jun wanted to get a big investment from another company. He told my father that the investment into the company would soon become my debt. My father was shaken by his words. “Why would you put these successful kids into debt?” he asked.
Dispatch: Didn’t you think to check with Jeon Hong Jun?
Keena: That’s the part that I regret the most. I feel so sorry to him about that.
Dispatch: Why didn’t the parents ask?
Keena: The parents didn’t exactly know what The Givers was. They just thought it was part of ATTRAKT. The staff there are so worried about us… They didn’t want to make them feel embarrassed.
Dispatch: So you thought of Ahn Sung Il as a whistleblower of sorts?
Dispatch: So is there another one?
Keena: Would Jeon Hong Jun just throw us away after one album? He was setting up a feud and disguising it as a whistleblower’s info.
Keena mentioned that while Ahn Sung Il suggested the initial injunction, the FIFTY FIFTY members ultimately decided to file the lawsuit. But what if there was no gaslighting from Ahn Sung Il?
I raised you. I put you on Billboard. I filmed your music video with my money. I bought your song with my money. CEO Jeon Hong Jun is not even interested in you. He only thinks of investment money. That investment is just debt. You have to pay it back.
— Ahn Sung Il
Keena apologized again to Jeon Hong Jun.
Why didn’t I contact Jeon Hong Jun at that time? I feel so sad about that.
Even if Ahn Sung Il and director Baek tried to cut me off, I could have tried to get into contact with him… I regret not doing so and I’m sorry.